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How to Have a Safe and Pleasant Trip to Indonesia for Muslim Travellers

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Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country, with around 88% of its population identifying as Muslims. In fact, Indonesia has the biggest Muslim population in the world. As thus, it won’t be hard for Muslim travellers to find safe places to eat or quiet places for prayer when you visit Indonesia.

However, there are provinces in Indonesia where people don’t follow Islam. Indonesia has one of the biggest populations of Hindus in the world. Additionally, the Dutch and Portuguese colonizers have brought their religion with them, so a significant portion of the Indonesian population also observes the Protestant and Catholic faiths. Buddhism is also practiced in Indonesia.

Bali is Hindu Country

In contrast to the rest of the country, Bali is mostly populated by Hindus. Muslims comprise only about 14% of the population. But since food products sold in Indonesia are halal-certified, you can be sure that the food you can buy at the markets and grocery stores are safe to eat.

Kuta Market which is a safe place to shop for Muslim travellers
Market at Kuta, Bali.

Finding a truly halal restaurant in Bali can be tricky, though. Since Bali is tourist country, a good many restaurants there don’t bother to get halal-certified because they serve alcohol. The safest halal dining options are concentrated in Denpasar and Kuta, where there is significant Muslim presence. When in doubt, you can always look for a “warung Muslim” or eateries that serve halal food.

As for places of prayer, you’ll find mosques in Denpasar, Kuta and Nusa Dua. Perhaps the grandest of these mosques is Denpasar’s Sudirman Agung Mosque.

North Sulawesi is predominantly Protestant

North Sulawesi is an ecotourism hub in Indonesia, home to many nature sanctuaries. Most famous of these sanctuaries is Bunaken National Park, one of the most spectacular diving spots in the world. If you’re into diving or exploring nature, North Sulawesi needs to be in your itinerary.

Port of Manado offers halal food for Muslim travellers in Indonesia
Port of Manado, North Sulawesi | Credit: @fanly_edah

Visiting this province can be tricky if you’re Muslim, though, because 68% of its population is Christian, mostly Protestant with a sprinkling of Catholics. But if you’re going to use the city of Manado for exploring North Sulawesi of Indonesia, Muslim travellers can easily find safe places to eat. Manado has decent options for halal dining. Aside from the usual restaurant offering halal fare, you can also go to Lililoyor Market for snacks and Raya Kalasey for seafood. Again, when in doubt, look for a warung Muslim.

Regarding places of prayer, there are a number of masjids in Manado and elsewhere in North Sulawesi. Just ask the locals to point you to the nearest one.

Flores is a Catholic province

Flores is where you’ll find the rainbow lakes of Mt. Kelimutu. It’s also part of the Komodo and Kelimutu National Parks, where you’ll find komodo dragons as well as other endangered plants and animals found only in Indonesia.

If you’re Muslim, though, traveling to Flores can be a hassle. The people of Flores are primarily Catholic. Finding a halal restaurant won’t be easy, though you can try scouring the streets surrounding the local masjids. Or you can settle for searching for the nearest warung Muslim or dining on vegetarian food.

Padar Island is a famous spot for scenic view and where most Muslim travellers go
Padar Island in Labuan Bajo | Credit: @ptographer

You’ll have more luck when you visit Labuan Bajo. This fishing village has become a tourism hub, largely because of its status as a launching point for exploring the islands of Komodo and Rinca and as a Flores diving spot. The new resort town is home to a number of halal restaurants and has its own mosque.

Because Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country, you won’t find traveling there as a Muslim a challenge. The challenge lies in going to Indonesian destinations where the population isn’t Muslim. If that’s your case, then you’re better off booking your trip with a travel agency with expertise in Muslim travel to Indonesia.

Indonesia is a great country to explore. We’ve listed other things to do and spots to visit in Indonesia in articles you can find here!

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